Founded in 1952 as the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU-MN fights to protect the civil liberties of Minnesotans through litigation, public education, and lobbying related to legislation that impacts civil liberties and civil rights. Four underlying principles guide this mission:
- The ACLU-MN is a nonpartisan, impartial organization; its policies do not embrace particular political philosophies.
- The ACLU-MN may represent individuals with popular or unpopular points of view; by such representation, the ACLU-MN neither condones nor promotes the messages of these individuals, but defends against attacks on civil liberties.
- The ACLU-MN is a nonprofit organization that does neither solicits nor accepts government funding. Its primary client is the Bill of Rights.
- The ACLU-MN is an affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union and coordinates philosophies, approaches to litigation, and funding with the national organization.
The ACLU of Minnesota carries out its mission in the following ways:
- THROUGH LITIGATION: Selecting, negotiating, and trying cases with the potential to establish precedent, broaden interpretation, or strengthen civil liberties are the keys to protecting individual rights. We are supported by volunteer attorneys who donate their time and expertise.
- THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION: By providing schools with education materials, speaking in public on civil liberties, and mobilizing individuals to advocate for their rights, the ACLU-MN is able to further it's goal of educating Minnesotans.
- THROUGH LOBBYING: Drafting legislation and testifying on bills with civil liberties implications is a key to ensuring that the government does not infringe on the rights of Minnesotans.